Jerusalem Light-rail Security Guards Use Pepper Spray on Palestinian Passengers

Incident takes place amid growing number of reports concerning confrontations between Jewish, Palestinian passengers on the city's newly launched tram system.

Security guards employed by Jerusalem's public transportation system used pepper spray on Palestinian light-rail passengers on Wednesday, amid growing reports of confrontations between Jews and Arabs on the recently launched municipal tram.

The incident occurred after Palestinian youths refused to heed the request of a light train conductor, who had asked them to take their feet off the seats of the train. Following their refusal, and a reported ensuing confrontation, light rail security was alerted.

Jerusalem light rail - Emil Salman - August 2011
Emil Salman

Security guards arriving at the scene then used pepper spray against the Palestinians, and removed them from the train car; police officers called to the scene did not make any arrests.

Wednesday's incident came amid a growing amount of complaints concerning reported friction between Jewish and Palestinian passengers.

Most reported incidents amounted to heated exchanges, with some escalating to physical confrontations. The majority of incidents reported were in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina and Jewish neighborhood Pisgat Ze'ev.

Jerusalem's light rail service was opened to the public in August, after eight months of trial runs and years of delays.